Travel Blog #134 – Waianae’s Dolphin Excursions

Mar 16, 2022 | Activity Information

One of the most frequently asked questions that we get from our customers is: Could we arrange to swim with dolphins while were in Hawaii?
When asked this question we always give the same answer, which is: Yes.

There are many ways that this can be done. You can guarantee that you will swim with dolphins if you want to go to Sea Life Park and swim in the dolphin tank. If you would like to swim with dolphins in the wild we have a few companies that offer dolphin tours (because its in the wild, swimming with them is not guaranteed……but it happens on about 80% of the trips.

Today we opted to try our luck finding dolphins with a company called Dolphin Excursions that operates out of the Waianae Coastline on the western shore of Oahu. Weve been working with them for years and Ive always heard great things about them but until today, I never got to experience their trip first hand. The days experience did not disappoint. It turned out to be everything I thought it would be and more!!

We were picked up by the dolphin excursions van in front of the Ala Moana Hotel in Waikiki. Our driver showed up early and when we arrived he was sitting in the front row of the empty bus strumming a tune on his Ukulele. As soon as he saw us he greeted us, welcomed us on-board, and then moved back to the drivers seat where he started the bus and began making his way to the next pick up point.

The rest of the pickups went very smoothy except for one group of young Japanese girls that took about 10 minutes longer then they shouldve to get on the bus (Some of them were still in their rooms getting ready when we arrived). However, because of the lighter then normal traffic on the way out to Waianae we ended up still making it to the harbor right on time.
As we got closer to the Waianae harbor it became obvious why it is not generally recommended for tourists to visit this side of the island unless theyre with a guided tour. The town is extremely dilapidated and from just driving down the street and looking out the window it is very apparent that crime and homelessness are two major issues in the Waianae community.
When we stepped out of the bus our Captain was waiting for us at the top of the pier. She went over the basics of what our days itinerary was before inviting us down the pier and on to her large yellow speedboat that had Dolphin Excursions written in large letters down the sides.

As soon as we got out of the harbor our Captain punched the throttle and it became immediately apparent how fast the boat we were riding in really was! I was pretty convinced that with this much speed at our disposal we stood a great chance of finding dolphins. Sure enough, I was right and we spotted our first group of dolphins less then 10 minutes after we initially left the harbor.

It was amazing how comfortable the dolphins were around the boat. Our Captain decided that the first group we saw was moving too fast to do a water drop so after we had plenty of time to get some pictures of them jumping and playing around the boat we continued down the coastline to look for more. Within about another 5 minutes we spotted a pod that was even larger then the first, that seemed to be moving down the coast too, but at a much slower rate then the first pod we encountered. This one seemed perfect for a drop, our Captain got everyone ready to jump in along the back of the boat, then maneuvered the boat in front of the dolphins, cut the engines and yelled for us to Go, go, go!!!!

Within 30 seconds of entering the water we were literally surrounded by dolphins. Some were deeper in the water towards the bottom, and some were only a foot or two under the service literally making eye contact with me as they swam past…… It was absolutely incredible!

As soon as the dolphins had passed us we jumped back on the boat and maneuvered the boat back in front of the dolphins to do it again. By the time we made it back to the harbor we had swam with dolphins on three separate occasions and then also got to do a snorkel spot along the shore on the way back where we got to swim with some turtles.
At the end of the day when we got back to the harbor I was absolutely amazed at the mornings experience. As I got off the boat, I asked the first mate how often the trips are like this. He looked at me straight in the eye and with no hesitation said About 80 to 85, percent of the time. Its amazingly consistent……… No wonder we get so much good feedback about these guys, it was a truly amazing experience!